Chinese bathroom tissue arrived in the mail today, a memory of a more desperate time. It came air mail all the way from, well I can’t read Chinese but it was from far, far away. It cost ten times as much as the Chinese bathroom tissue—that sounds so much nicer than toilet paper—that suddenly appeared at a supermarket two miles from here a day or two later, and not only were those rolls bulkier, even manlier than their petite cousins, but they smelled like lavender. Yes, lavender. They were piled in immense pyramids like the skulls outside the breached walls of Samarkand, and the bouquet of lavender clung to everything like mustard gas, not that we cared. It was toilet paper, at last, like manna from heaven and three bucks a twelve roll package. We stood six feet apart beaming and squeezing the whipple out of them. Once home I clove apart the packages and piled the contents neatly in the linen closet, filling every cranny with ramparts of plush three ply lavender. I forgot all about the solid gold T.P. wending it’s metaphorical way from China down the spice road through Samarkand, Tashkent, Merv and along the shores of the Caspian Sea, through the Mediterranean to Cadiz where it was loaded onto a galleon and set sailing before favorable winds to American shores and eventually handed to me by a postman here in Silver Lake. Did you order toilet paper he asked through his mask. I nodded. He handed me the package. It seemed lighter than air. I tore open the plastic and out spilled twelve little rolls of bathroom tissue. They were almost toylike. The feeling of falling in love with you they read. A miniature roll of toilet paper making love to me. Never had wiping my ass seemed so romantic.